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Date Listed: 19 February 1990
English Heritage Building ID: 179610
OS Grid Reference: TQ5609648701
OS Grid Coordinates: 556096, 148701
Latitude/Longitude: 51.2162, 0.2336
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HILDENBOROUGH NOBLE TREE ROAD (south side)
TQ 54 NE
Large house. 1865 by G. Somers Clarke for the Johnson family, re-roofed in
the late 1980s. Hammer-dressed Tunbridge Wells sandstone ashlar; concrete
tile roof, replacing the original peg-tiles; stone stacks. Stylistically
eclectic, making use of Gothic and Tudor features, the service wing
battlemented and baronial in character.
Plan: Almost identical to Sackville School (q.v.), adjacent to Mountains and
built one year later by the same architect. Double depth plan on a west east
axis with the entrance on the north side and a south garden front. Long,
asymmetrical, approximately rectangular arrangement with a corridor in the
centre on the long axis, the principal rooms to the right (west) with an
entrance into a large heated hall containing the stair. Service wing to the
left (east) with a service stair off the corridor and a small service
courtyard at the east end. The 1865 plan is unaltered.
Exterior: 2 storeys to the main block, 3 to the service wing to the east.
Long, asymmetrical 3:2:2:1:2 window north elevation. The one-window stair
projection to right of centre with a steep pyramidal roof providing a strong
vertical accent, the 3-bay service block to the left battlemented with ashlar
end stacks and grotesques carved below the battlementing, the adjoining block
to the west gabled to the front. West of this the symmetrical 2-window
entrance block has a Gothic doorway with an ogee head carved with blind tracey
and flanked by buttresses with crocketted finials. Original 2-leaf front
door, the top panels glazed. The stair projection has a massive transomed 4-
light stair window, the upper lights traceried and filled with stained glass
with a frieze of blind quatrefoils below the window, the pyramidal roof with a
tall lead finial. The extreme right hand (west) block has a 5-light transomed
window to the ground floor and a corbelled first floor stack at the right.
Original fenestration throughout of stone mullioned windows, some with
transoms, glazed with plate glass metal frame casements. The garden (south)
elevation overlooking a terrace is gabled to the south to the left and right
of the principal block and continues the same style. The left gable has a
projecting stack with set-offs, shaft dismantled with a 3-light window
immediately above the fireplace. The irregular east service wing is slightly
set back at the right end and built against it, with access from the dining
room, is an original conservatory with a lean-to roof, gabled to the front in
the centre, the lights with cast iron traceried spandrels. The west end of
the house has a panelled door into the axial corridor with a depressed ogee
arch and a tall crocketted finial. A projecting bay to the right has a
traceried parapet with carved grotesques above a panel of blind tracery and a
4-light transomed window to the ground floor.
Interior: Very well-preserved. Joinery, decorated plasterwork and original
chimney-pieces survive throughout. The entrance hall preserves its original
floor tiling and panelled plaster ceiling with decorated plaster roundels at
the intersections of the ribs. Open well stair with turned balusters, the
stained glass in the stair window contains the armorial bearings of England,
Scotland, Ireland and Wales, the figures of the patron saints below were
destroyed by bomb damage in the war. The principal rooms have plaster
cornices, oak panelled doors and marble or stone chimney-pieces. The service
rooms retain most of their original fittings including a dresser and kitchen
range. The conservatory preserves its original floor tiling, benches and the
fittings, still in working order, for the system of opening vents. Some of
the first floor rooms retain light fittings of the circa 1920s.
Mountains is said to be the only Somers Clarke house remaining in private
hands and is a remarkably complete example of an eclectic High Victorian
country house. The original plans are in the possession of the present owner
who also has a full set of building and household receipts dating from 1926.
Somers Clarke also designed Foxbush, now Sackville School (q.v.) immediately
east of Mountains, in 1866.
Group value with the lodge and stable block to the north east.
Listing NGR: TQ5607348707
This text is a legacy record and has not been updated since the building was originally listed. Details of the building may have changed in the intervening time. You should not rely on this listing as an accurate description of the building.
Source: English Heritage
Listed building text is © Crown Copyright. Reproduced under licence.